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Autumn Joy in the Pandemic

Six months and 10 days ago, the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). Honestly, the last six months have been intense and surreal… Amid all the death, infections, shutdowns and panic, some times have really blossomed in my life.

I have been learning to love myself, just as I am. The way God made me. I had been stuck in an ugly vortex of self-hatred. So much that I literally hated who I was. I knew that God loved me, and that others seemed to like me, but I did not like myself. I’ve been praying lots, listening to some powerful preaching, audiobooks and doing some healing on the inside over the last few months. It has been transformational.

I’ve re-discovered my passion for creativity and opened an online business which is actually doing really well. I’m beyond grateful and amazed. I’ve made over 10 sales so far in the last few weeks since I’ve opened up my etsy shop (Stephanolia.etsy.com)! I’ve gained a small following on TikTok (@stephanolia) and started small business pages on facebook and instagram. I’ve received orders from all over the country! It’s incredible and my heart is so full right now.

I never believed in myself to think that I could actually pursue art as a legit hobby/small business. But here we art! God is so good. I give him all the praise and honour for opening this door and even thought the pandemic is horrible, God has given me this outlet of creativity to keep my spirits up and my eyes set above.

What has God been teaching you during this time of pandemic? Please leave a comment – I would love to hear from you!

(Ps. This mini art print is available in my shop)

All the Stars in the Nightsky

Just made the best art I’ve ever made on Procreate! I am so happy with how this turned out. Please let me know what you think and what I should draw next?

All the stars – original digital art

I decided to make it into a magnet and share on my etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/848354436/decorative-fridge-magnet-stars).

Honestly, learning how to create art using the iPad has changed my whole creative mindset. It is such a great coping mechanism for me against the loneliness of having to stay home because of the pandemic and missing human contact in real life.

I am so grateful for my little chihuahua too. It’s been 2 months and she just brings me so much joy. There’s a lot of love in that little animal and she is very sweet, except when there’s a squirrel – then, she goes berserk!

No Bible verse today but I’ve been reciting Jeremiah 29:11 all evening. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you peace and a future. (Might not be word for word because I’m writing from memory).

Amazing that the God that created the MILKY WAY and all the galaxies and the stars and planets has a plan for you!! Just think about that… You are that important to God that he wants to give you peace and a prosperous future! It is so beautiful.

Here’s my art as a magnet!!

Show me the Way of Life

Good evening reader, I hope you’re having a wonderful last week of August! Summer is coming to an end and September is on the horizon. I’ve been enjoying the cooler temperatures for sure and the decrease in humidity! I love this time of year.

So I was working on my online shop, updating the items listed and editing the details. I decided that rather than use Shopify as the main selling platform, I am also going to try on Etsy so my link is now in my bio and I will share it here in this post as well :

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/StephanoliaCo

I honestly never realized just how much time and effort small business owners spend on their websites until I started learning all the tricks of the trade a few weeks ago. Same with the digital art and design – it takes tremendous attention to detail and patience!!

I love this verse; it makes me very happy to read it today. I’ve been struggling with some feelings of loneliness. Living alone during the pandemic has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I feel like I’ve watched all of Netflix and read so many books. I’ve been creative, done some cooking, and now I am feeling a bit exhausted from all of it.

However, I trust in God and I am 100% confident that he will show me the way of life, and grant me the joy of his presence and the pleasures of living with him forever! It’s like the triple bonus of trusting in him: the way of life, the joy of his presence, and the pleasures of living with him. It’s pretty amazing!

The best part is that we don’t have to do anything.. God will SHOW us the way, we just have to keep our eyes open and he reveals these things to us. If you’re struggling today to see the way of life or feel that joy, please feel free to leave a comment – I would love to pray for you!

Do Everything in Love

How are you doing today? How is the pandemic where you live? Here in Ontario, things are good but we’re not out of the woods yet. I’ve pretty much adapted to this slower pace of living. Staying home every day has become a bit more normal. It is completely wild to think that it’s been over 5 months since the pandemic was declared. I’d love to hear how you are coping with all of this.

On the weekend, I finally cleaned out my spare bedroom (aka the junk room) and turned it into a home office. Amazing how much comfortable and productive I have been in the last couple of days, just having a dedicated space to work! My dining table was ok for the first few months, but it was definitely time for me to organize my space better.

I noticed that the leaves are starting to change colours already! It inspired my design of the day, using the Procreate app on my iPad Pro. It reminds me of cool evenings, cozy sweaters and pumpkin spice! I love the sunshine of the summer season, but autumn is my favourite season!

What’s your favorite season?

“Do everything in love.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭16:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Love Never Fails

Okay, so the last few weeks rather than express myself creatively through writing, I have been experimenting with digital art and it is completely addictive!

I have to admit that it’s harder than I thought it would be. My brain and hand is used to holding a paintbrush, mixing actual paints that I can manipulate easily, and a canvas which is rather large. On my iPad, the screen is small, the digital brushes are tricky and confusing for this non-tech-savvy human, and I often find it takes me much longer to create something digitally than in real life. However, the plus side is that there is no mess whatsoever and the possibilities are endless!

I’ve been so inspired that I even took some of my designs and turned them into apparel and accessories that can be purchased online and shipped straight to your door! Watch out amazon…

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/StephanoliaCo

It is really great to see some of my work on t-shirts, tote bags, and hoodies. It’s like my dream of selling my art is coming true!

So far, it is only my digital art, because I don’t have a scanner or a good enough camera to be able to photograph my acrylic/oil paintings yet. I am still doing research on whether or not the scanning is a service that is offered commercially where I live. In the meantime, digital art is in!

Here are some of my recent designs:

Ravishing as the Night Sky

Today’s weather was pretty nutty! It’s been so hot lately though that the rain was very much needed! The grass was started to look a little bit fried… Of course I decided to go for a walk around 4pm while it was sunny and clear! Not five minutes later, I was caught in a torrential downpour, complete with hail. It was literally raining sideways.

I guess it was a sign that I wasn’t supposed to go for a walk today (haha). So instead I made dinner early and had an awesome video chat with 2 work friends instead! It lasted over 3 hours! We had so much to catch up on. It’s wild how we spend so much time with our coworkers… 40 hours a week (or more) and then I’ve missed them during this pandemic. I’m used to having my coffee breaks and meetings face to face, having chats while waiting for the elevator or heading here and there. I miss that social aspect of going in to the office.

Today, I worked on my digital art some more and created this lil gem! The trees obviously need more work but I’m happy with how the sky and stars turned out!

Isn’t that version of this verse just so beautiful and poetic? I love it so much. It really makes me feel happy and like a younger version of myself. I’ll always remember one night long ago, looking up at the stars with some friends and seeing my first shooting star. Magical. I still love star-gazing and wonder in awe at the thought of galaxies of stars and planets beyond what we humans could ever think or imagine. It’s just so awesome.

Hiatus

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word hiatus


“ comes from “hiare,” a Latin verb meaning “to gape” or “to yawn,” and first appeared in English in the middle of the 16th century. Originally, the word referred to a gap or opening in something, such as a cave opening in a cliff. In the 18th century, Laurence Sterne used the word humorously in his novel Tristram Shandy, writing of “the hiatus in Phutatorius’s breeches.” These days, “hiatus” is usually used in a temporal sense to refer to a pause or interruption (as in a song), or a period during which an activity is temporarily suspended”

Such as in my blogging. Instead of writing, I’ve been learning how to create some digital art! For fun and because it is so much cheaper than real painting and also requires zero cleanup afterwards.

Here’s my first completed piece:

Neon Flowers

Honestly, I have to say that it’s actually harder to paint digitally than it is to paint on a real canvas. At least on a canvas, I can mix the colours efficiently, do the blending, add shading and texture. I know I have to give myself more time to learn all the tools for digital art! It was certainly a lot of fun.

So now, back to writing and the verbal outpouring that comes more easily to me than choosing which shade of green to paint each leaf.

It dawned on me today that I had been offered a job abroad 4 years ago and had the job not been put on hold merely (4) weeks before I was supposed to move, I would still be living and working in that country today. I would by now have made new friends and coworkers but it amazes me how God closed this door. Now, after living through the last 4 years still in my hometown, I totally see all the reasons why it was not meant for me and why the job was cancelled, seemingly out of the blue.

I would have missed spending time with my new nephew and niece. I might not have been healed of my chronic back pain a year and a half ago. I would have been very close to the wildfires that ravaged the country back in December/January (seems like ages ago!!). I probably would have been able to look out my apartment window (yes, even my apartment had been picked out) and see the smoke thick in the sky, the orange hue of burning, and I can only imagine what that smoke smells like or how it might have affected my asthmatic lungs. And I would be living through this pandemic alone, far from my family and longtime friends, on a different continent with a major time zone difference. If I think that this experience has been a roller-coaster while being a home, it would have been much more difficult to be so isolated.

This realization dawned on me tonight when I walked the dog and saw a massive (for Canada) spider next to the entrance of my building. It made me think of Australia and how I was so excited to move there and have a great adventure. I was devastated when my big move and job opportunity were cancelled. It was even worse having to tell people my bad news, pretty much one by one, as they would ask me “when are you moving?” And I would have to explain how I wasn’t going after all…

In retrospect, I’m truly relieved that I didn’t go. Thanks, God. I was angry with you when I didn’t see the big picture. I thought you were punishing me. Now I see you were protecting me all along!

Continue reading “Hiatus”

8 Percent

That’s how much charge I have left on my iPad! All good though; this will be another short blog post. Another busy day at work and doing all the visiting with my family!

Tomorrow morning I’m hosting brunch at my place and feel like I still have lots of cleaning to do… no one has been over probably since 2019! Not even kidding… I think the last time I had friends over was before Christmas. I’ve been hermit-ing it up ever since the pandemic was declared and I returned from the Europe. It’s not the end of the world if my bookshelves are a lil dusty, is it? At least, I finally put away my winter boots and scarves and mittens! Besides, I think all my brother really cares about is that I have bacon and my deluxe-o espresso machine!

Happy Friday’s eve, everyone! The weekend is nigh!